2018 LEN EUROPEAN JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Mäkelänrinne Swimming Centre, Helsinki, Finland
- Wednesday, July 4th – Sunday, July 8th (swimming)
- Meet Site
- Entry List
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- Live Results
16-year-old Hungarian Ajna Kesely started off the 2018 LEN European Junior Championships in Helsinki with a bang on Wednesday, winning a pair of gold medals in the women’s 400 IM and 800 freestyle. Last year at the championships in Netanya, she won five gold medals.
She first swam the 400 IM, establishing a lead on the second length of fly and never relinquishing it throughout the race. She was nearly six seconds clear of the field at the halfway mark, and easily came in for the win in 4:41.55, dropping her previous best time of 4:42.53 by nearly a second. Last year she swam strictly freestyle events at this meet, so this was her first title in this event.
In the race for 2nd, Germany’s Yara Sophie Hierath turned 5th with 50 metres to go but her final split of 30.83 was enough to bump her up into the runner-up spot, registering a 4:45.75 to lower her previous best time by over four seconds. Lili Horvath also went a best time to put two Hungarians on the medal stand in 4:45.88, edging out Spain’s Alba Vazquez Ruiz (4:46.01).
Back in action at the end of the session, Kesely successfully defended her 800 free title in 8:30.43, breaking her meet record of 8:31.81 set last year. Currently, she sits 4th in the world this year with her 8:25.82 from the Hungarian Championships. Germany’s Celine Rieder (8:32.54) was close behind in a PB for silver, and Italian Giulia Salin (8:34.50) won bronze.
Another busy Hungarian on day 1 was Kristof Milak, who won six medals last summer in Netanya. The 17-year-old first qualified 3rd in the 50 fly semis in a time of 23.84, with Russians Andrei Minakov (23.66) and Daniil Markov (23.82) leading the way.
He then won the men’s 400 freestyle, using a 56.14 final 100 to move up from 3rd and capture gold in 3:50.00, just over a second off his 3:48.71 personal best. Russian Ilia Sibirtsev earned his second best time of the day for silver in 3:50.74, and Johannes Calloni (3:51.14) of Italy and his Russian teammate Aleksandr Egorov (3:51.35) also put up PBs for 3rd and 4th.
Milak was back in the water approximately 20 minutes later in the men’s 100 back semis, posting a best time of 54.67 to qualify 3rd behind Russia’s Kliment Kolesnikov (53.99) and Romanian Daniel-Cristian Martin (54.30). Kolesnikov was the silver medalist last year, and has made great strides since including breaking the world record in the SCM version of the event and going the 2nd fastest time in the world this year at the Russian Championships in 52.97.
In his fourth and final swim of the night, Milak ended up back in 6th in a tightly bunched 50 fly final, finishing .05 outside of bronze in 23.82. Minakov won the event in a new best of 23.56, with Norwegian Tomoe Zenimoto Hvas earning silver in 23.68 and Markov the bronze in 23.77. Hvas set a new Norwegian national record in the prelims in a time of 23.59.
- After dropping a personal best of 31.52 in the women’s 50 breast semi-finals, Great Britain’s Tatiana Belonogoff won the final in 31.29, edging out German Anna Elendt (31.36) and Slovenian Tina Celik (31.57).
- Russia prevailed victorious in the men’s 400 free relay in 3:18.21, with Kolesnikov’s 48.32 anchor enough to get them by the Italians, who took silver in 3:18.79. Germany won bronze, and the defending champions from Poland had a notable 48.69 anchor from Jakub Kraska en route to finishing 5th. The 2017 silver medalist Hungarians failed to final after electing not to use Milak in prelims.
- The Russian women won their 400 free relay in 3:43.03, with their top split coming from Elizaveta Klevanovich (55.16). Germany took 2nd in 3:44.82 with a 54.80 anchor from Maya Tobehn, while Italy won bronze (3:45.39).
- Alessandro Fusco of Italy leads the men’s 200 breast field into the final after clocking a PB of 2:12.47 in the semis. Aleksandr Zhigalov sits 2nd in 2:13.46.
- Hungarians Blanka Berecz and Dora Hathazi head into the women’s 200 fly final 1-2 after showings of 2:11.22 and 2:11.81 respectively in the semis.
- 2017 World Junior champion Freya Anderson of Great Britain will look to reclaim her title in the women’s 100 freestyle after qualifying 1st into the final in a time of 55.07. Anderson won the gold medal in this event in 2016, but did not compete last summer in Israel. Klevanovich was the only other swimmer sub-56 in 55.22, which was a new personal best.
- Russia’s Anastasia Avdeeva was the fastest woman in the 200 back semis by over two seconds in 2:09.67, as she’ll look to take down the championship record of 2:08.97 set by her countrywoman Polina Egorova last year in the final.